Weight-Loss Surgery Helps Cancer Survivor Live Her Best Life


News from Parkwest Healthy Lifestyles

Nicole Jenkins is a businesswoman, wife and mother who lost 145 pounds following
weight-loss surgery at Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville performed by Bariatric Surgeon Dr. K. Robert Williams, Jr. The Sevierville woman, now a resident of Orlando, Florida, says she couldn’t be happier with her new lifestyle.

Jenkins says, “I was always curvy. I have had four children and over time, I steadily put on weight.” Two years after weight-loss surgery, the almost-50-year-old says she feels 20 again.

Several years before seeking bariatric surgery, Jenkins received devastating news. In 2015, she was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive type of breast cancer. While living in Tennessee, she underwent chemotherapy, radiation and a partial mastectomy. It was tough, but she was tougher. Jenkins says that she knew if she could beat cancer, she could do anything.

Nicole lost 145 pounds after gastric bypass surgery with Dr. K. Robert WIlliams.

Nicole Before

Flipping the Switch

“After beating cancer, we went to Dollywood. I was embarrassed when they had to stop the line to get me a seat belt extension. It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life, because I was holding up the ride.”

In that moment, like flipping a switch, Jenkins resolved to do something about her weight and how she felt about her body. “I fought too hard to live just to die because of being overweight,” she says.

At her heaviest, Jenkins weighed about 270 pounds, which strained her small 5-foot-3-inch frame. She was hesitant about bariatric surgery, but many of her fears subsided after she met the doctor who would be performing her procedure.

At Parkwest

K. Robert Williams, MD, bariatric surgeon of New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery at Parkwest Medical Center, performed laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in May 2020.

“We selected this operation because of her pre-op history of reflux,” says Dr. Williams. “Rouxen- Y gastric bypass surgery is often a good treatment for reflux as well as obesity. The recovery is approximately the same as a patient undergoing the gastric sleeve.”

Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the most common method of gastric bypass surgery. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery helps reduce the amount of food a person eats by decreasing hunger and overall calorie absorption from fat. Done laparoscopically, small incisions are made in the abdomen that reduce the size of the upper stomach to a small pouch.

At the time of surgery, Jenkins had a BMI hovering between 40 and 45 and suffered
from severe reflux and a history of fatty liver disease. Dr. Williams says the only way to fix fatty liver is through weight loss. If left untreated, the condition can lead to irreversible damage to the liver.

He reports, “Ms. Jenkins is no longer at risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure or fatty liver. She has had no complications and lost about half of her total body weight. She did great.”

“Dr. Williams was wonderful,” Jenkins says. “His bedside manner was great. He made sure the entire team cared for me and knew all my needs.” She adds, “Parkwest was absolutely amazing!

Accepting Support

“Our goal is to make people healthier in general, in any way we can,” says Dr. Williams. “The lifestyle changes required to keep the weight off are not easy. It’s rather challenging, but it does get easier with time. We try to prepare our patients the best way we can by offering support groups, nutrition classes and many ongoing resources.”

Jenkins still attends the virtual support groups when she can. “I am still getting help from the team. My family has given me the best support.”

Reflection

Jenkins says a lot of people won’t understand the small victories unless they’ve lived through something similar. Her “wins” have included sitting comfortably in an airplane
seat, crossing her legs and taking a walk without having to stop from being winded. She completed a 5K and has set her sights on hiking Mount LeConte.

“What sets someone up for success is their attitude. I look at old pictures of myself and think, who is that? Then I think, I wish I would have done it sooner. I feel amazing.”

If you’re considering improving your life and health with weight loss surgery, visit the New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery GET STARTED page to begin your journey now!



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